Mission: To make college admission and success possible for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support.
About the Organization: In 1999, first-generation college graduate Jim McCorkell came up with the idea to assist bright, lower-income high school students by providing them with college-age mentors who could help them get into and succeed in college. Launched the next year in St. Paul, College Possible now serves students in ten cities across the country, including Philadelphia, Chicago, Milwaukee, Omaha, and Portland. The organization runs an AmeriCorps program for volunteer mentors and provides students with afterschool and summer enrichment programs, tours of college campuses, and coaching around a range of topics, including financial aid, scholarships, and study skills. The organization also enters into partnerships with colleges with the aim of supporting students who may be the first in their family to seek a degree beyond high school and providing a pipeline of diverse, prepared students to the colleges themselves.
Current Programs: College Possible's Americorps and VISTA program trains and places volunteers to work directly with students on campuses, or in its offices on marketing and programmatic efforts. Students interested in joining the year-long program are invited to contact the College Possible location nearest them and can also receive virtual coaching through the organization’s tech-connected CollegePoint program. The College Possible junior curriculum orients high school juniors to the college application process, provides guided preparation for the ACT/SAT exam, introduces them to college life through campus tours, and allows time for summer enrichment opportunities. The organization's senior curriculum guides high school seniors through the college application process, assists them in applying for financial aid and scholarships, and helps students with the transition to college life. Once they matriculate, participants in the program are supported all the way through to graduation with financial literacy training, study skills coaching, and more.
Website: The College Possible website offers portals for students, Americorps volunteers, and supporters of the organization, and also organizes its content into pages for each of the organization's six locations. A mobile-friendly results page provides a summary of the organization’s effect on student success and acts as a portal to its research. The website also includes stories about College Possible volunteers and students; a news page with multimedia content by, for, and about its students (including a YouTube channel); audio recordings; and a photo gallery. The site also makes it easy for visitors to donate.
Funding: College Possible receives federal funding for its AmeriCorps program, as well as grants and gifts from private foundations, corporations, and individuals.